Daily Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Perhaps the baggage we carry is that, while we were growing up, we couldn’t satisfy our parents.  Perhaps, while Mom and Dad never stated that, we just sensed their disappointment or disapproval.  Maybe we didn’t match up with their hopes and dreams for us academically, socially, or athletically.

Perhaps this becomes an obstacle to maintaining a close relationship with parents.  Perhaps this baggage makes us worry about pleasing other people, not only our parents.  It may make it difficult with persons older than we are or persons in authority.

Perhaps this piece of baggage becomes an impediment in our relationship with God.  We live as disciples always feeling like we are never quite living up to God’s desire for us; never confident and free in our walk with Jesus.

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Daily Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Perhaps the baggage you carry is that you didn’t fit in with the other kids when you were young.  You were called names or were bullied.  Perhaps you were always the last to get picked for the team.  You still carry around with you the scars.

How does this still get in the way of forming new relationships?  How is this an obstacle at work?  How does this piece of baggage interfere in your spiritual development?

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Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Baggage Check

Through the years, each one of us has accumulated baggage, or disappointments, wrongs and traumas from the past that we still carry with us today.

This baggage weighs us down.

It impedes our progress toward becoming like Jesus.

We need to do a “baggage check” to discover what’s inside us.

The baggage needs to be identified, named and dropped at the cross, where forgiveness is our gift.

Here are the questions to focus our Lenten discoveries:

What baggage have I accumulated through the years?

Where did each piece come from?

How long have I been carrying around each piece?

How has each piece hindered my ability to follow Jesus?

We’ll have an opportunity to talk about what we’ve learned during our Lenten self-examination when we gather on Maundy Thursday.

We’ll also have an opportunity to drop our bags at the cross on Good Friday, to let Jesus carry the load for us.

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The Church is Not Rotary!

I am a Rotarian, and there are many times when I wish the Church was more like Rotary.  Rotary is a social and humanitarian organization and the Church is the Body of Christ, our Lord’s physical presence in the world through which God works toward the Kingdom of God.  How much more should the Church embody these characteristics of Rotary.  Scott Bowerman, the pastor of New Kirk Presbyterian Church in Blythewood, S.C., deserves credit (found in The Presbyterian Outlook, July 9, 2012 edition, p.27) for these observations which I affirm from my experience as a Rotarian for almost 19 years, and observing my father’s connection with Rotary for more than 50 years.

UniversalityRotary International is at work in more than 100 countries around the world.  Growing up, my family became hosts to Rotarians from India and several other countries, and I just visited the Perth Kinnoull club in Perth, Scotland, last week.  Rotary clubs are known for diversity and understanding.

Hospitality – Guests are recognized and applauded and banners are exchanged to take back to our home clubs.  I was more warmly welcomed and included in activities in the Perth Club than I am in many churches.  Unconditional hospitality calls us to be the world leaders, following the example of Jesus, in extending welcome to guests.

Mission – Rotary supports a wide variety of causes and charities, but the eradication of polio has been the big, hairy, audacious goal which is almost achieved with the help of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation matching grants.  This vision of polio-free world grabs my hopes, and encourages me to proclaim, “I’m helping wipe out polio!.”  Can you tell me what our mission is and why it grabs you?  How are you helping us change the world through First Presbyterian Church?

ValuesThe Four-Way Test of Rotary guides everything a Rotarian says and does: Is it the truth?  Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?  How are you living the values of disciples of Jesus Christ: welcoming unconditionally, worshiping passionately, growing faithfully, serving boldly, and giving extravagantly?

Commitment – Rotary requires weekly attendance.  If a member misses a meeting, he or she is expected to make it up at another club.  Each member is assessed dues and expected to participate in club activities to raise money for the mission of the club.  All members of Rotary are by definition active members who attend, contribute and serve.  How do you show your commitment to First Presbyterian?

The Church is not Rotary. But I believe we sure could learn from it.

 

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Filed under Active membership, Church Membership, Church Mission, Values, Vision

The Stone Church with a Warm Heart

Visions are for those that want to be pulled forward by ideals, rather than slogging around in the muck of current reality.  Yes, the church sometimes doesn’t measure up to our high ideals, but does that mean we cease to hold these models in front of us as our aspiration?

As hard as we try, sometimes we aren’t faithful to God’s call, sometimes we hurt people, sometimes we fail to reach out to others, sometimes egos get in the way.  But we continue to aspire to be a healthy community of faith, a fruitful congregation.

It’s much the same in our lives when we evaluate our marriage or our parenting skills or our financial practices.  When we aren’t matching up with our hopes, desires and dreams, we get back on track toward the vision we hold.

We will attain our vision as we practice our values of unconditional hospitality, passionate worship, intentional faith development, risk-taking mission and service and extravagant generosity.

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Filed under "First Presbyterian Church Geneseo Illinois", Five Practices, Our Missional Map, Vision

Mission Employment Rate Part Five

According to Genesis 12:1-3, when God called Abraham, God called a people to bless the nations.  That is still our calling as the people of God.

Who do you bless in your world from Sunday to Sunday?

Who are you being a disciple of Jesus Christ among in your everyday world?

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Filed under "First Presbyterian Church Geneseo Illinois", Church Mission, Discipleship, Incarnational Model, Mission and service, Missional church, Missionaries, Risk-taking mission and service

Mission Employment Rate Part Four

What is your passion in life?  How is it connected with the Kingdom of God and the heart of Jesus Christ?  How do you show your passion in the world outside the church door? Where do you passion and your giftedness meet a real need in the world?

Reflect on these questions, and we believe you’ll become clearer about how you are being a missionary for Christ, even though you may not think you are.

On the other hand, you may very well be unemployed at this time.

If you have not yet completed a Mission Employment Survey, do not be surprised or offended if you get an email, phone call or a visit to assist you in telling us how you reflect the heart of Christ in the world.

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Filed under "First Presbyterian Church Geneseo Illinois", Church Mission, Discipleship, Missional church, Risk-taking mission and service